Showing posts with label Knife Collecting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knife Collecting. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Around and About


The Western Reserve Cutlery Association had Wayne Hensley custom make a sub-hilt fighter to celebrate their 40th anniversary.

Anniversary sub-hilt fighter
Wayne never meant for us to carry this one, it didn't come with a sheath.

I have to admit 40 years is a funny anniversary.  It’s a multiple of the 10th celebration, but it’s not 4 times more fun than the 10th anniversary.  Still, an anniversary is a good reason to buy a custom knife.

I’ve always been interested in sub-hilt fighters.  The most noticeable feature is the extra hilt or “trigger” as some people call it.  I understand this design was developed by Bob Loveless in his “Big Bear Classic.”  I suspect other people had previously devised this type of handle/hilt, but for whatever reason it never took off.  The last really “new” thing I ever heard of was logarithms and that’s way off topic.

The upper edge of the Hensley sub-hilt is semi-sharp.  As I think of a sub-hilt fighter, the upper edge should be razor sharp, making the knife more of a dagger.  For me that makes the knife a little less useful as I often find myself pressing on the back edge to get more force into the cutting stroke.  Try that with a dagger and you’ll get more get more cutting all right, but not where you want it.

The Hensley sub-hilt blade is 4.5 inches of sharpened ATS34 steel and an ebony hard wood handle with bird head butt.  The stainless steel guard was to be stamped/engraved/etched with series number.  WRCA had ordered 15 for their members, but through some mishap all the knives got marked “1/15”.  I guess that is true enough, any one of these knives is one of the 15 made for the club.

We had requested a plaque or shield in the side of the ebony handle, but somehow that too fell through the cracks.

We’re also in the process of selecting a club knife for 2017.  These are often, but not always folders.  They are, almost exclusively, boring “old man knives.”  That of course is my opinion.  Two and three bladed friction folders don’t really ring my bell, but other club members love them.  Frankly, I think it’s more of a cost function.

I understand it.  I remember when I could by a Spyderco for half the current cost.  What I also remember is I used to buy gasoline for a half a buck and I was making $2.57 an hour then.  Scale the cost of that folder you bought in 1953 by fuel cost and you’ll find modern knives are still a bargain.

WRCA is also getting ready to launch the 2017 Knife Expo at the Knights of Columbus in Massillon, Ohio.  The show will be May 20 and 21, 2017.  I drove out there to see the building and found it in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  I was depending on my GPS to get out of there, so I followed its instructions and after a couple of blocks it informed me I was off roading.  Well, I was making such good time I didn’t want to stop.  Fortunately, I got to a major intersection, rebooted the darn thing and it showed me the way to go home.
  
I wish we could find a nice stable place to hold our show, but it doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon.

At the last gun show in Medina (that’s a local community not too far from me) I picked up an Arno Bernard fixed blade with sheath.  Arno Bernard is from Bethlehem, South Africa, and he uses some rather interesting and exotic materials for handles and sheaths.

Scavenger series Wild Dog
It's a classy knife and it's never been used.
This knife is one of his more plebeian issues.  It’s from his Scavenger series called the Wild Dog.  It available in several interesting handles, but mine is G-10.  His website is a little apologetic about using G-10 but as he claims, customers ask for it and it’s damn near indestructible.  The sheath is water buffalo leather and very interesting.

Water Buffalo sheath
I like the deep sheath which retains the knife in brush.  There is more than one American manufacturer who could make deeper sheaths.

He uses N690 steel which is similar to VG-10, but with a bit more chromium and cobalt and a little less vanadium.  My research indicates N690 can be hardened and tempered to 58-60 HRc. 
Bernard started making knives in 1979 and it’s a family run operation with the kids and their wives involved.  I’m always impressed with how one person can start something that grows to supports their family as well as other families in their community. 

I’m not going to keep this knife and you’ll find it on my table next year.